The idea that democracy must always win out and totalitarianism must always loose
I remind you that in your version, liberal democracy, as an alternative, has a generalized dictatorship, which, due to the lack of a scientific bonus, loses not long-term, but immediately.
because liberal democracy is somehow magically better
Competition (in all spheres) is magically better than no competition. The whole history of the USSR is directly about this.
The long term victory of america vs the Soviet Union which is what you seem to be referencing has nothing to do with their political system and everything to do with the fact that one of the two saw WW2 as a period of unprecedented economic growth with minimal casualties while the other bore the brunt of its economic and human cost. So whilst one could sustain a massive arms race the other simply couldn't.
1. The fact that the USSR collapsed under the weight of military spending is liberal propaganda.
"The only open military budget in the history of Russia and the USSR was published in 1989 on the wave of glasnost and amounted to 8.9% of GDP. In the early-mid-1980s, it was, of course, higher – about 11% of GDP. This is quite a lot – but not disastrous in any way. Between the Korean and Vietnam wars (1954-1963), the United States spent about 10% of GDP on defense - despite the fact that the American economy of those years roughly corresponded to the Russian of the 1980s."
Among other things, the fall of the USSR occurred against the background of very low military expenditures by Soviet standards. Аnd in the 1950s, when they really amounted to about 20%, the Soviet economy caused panic in the West in the spirit of "Soon the Soviets will win the economic race. The Soviet army was pretty cheap, actually.
2. The overall economic advantage of the United States after the war was impressive – to about the same extent as that of England in the middle of the 19th century. And where is that England now. Catching up development is much cheaper than "leadership" and, as a rule, such hegemony erodes quite quickly. At the same time, the USA of the 60s and especially the 70s did not shine at all with growth rates. If the USSR had maintained a high rate of development, this funny picture would have turned out.
It is quite often illustrated by the relationship between Russia and Poland-Lithuania. Because the current situation is ephemeral, and potential, growth rates and sound management are long–term factors.
3. So while liberal propaganda is moaning about the horrors of the Gulag (it can't do anything else, and yes, one of my relatives has been there - for real guilt and without special effects), normal people are watching statistics. And there... curious.
The real reasons are
A) The chronic decline in investment efficiency throughout the post-Stalinist era. More and more was invested, the return was less and less. If the marriage in industry is over 30%, 11% of military spending is your least problem.
B) The total inability of regulated industry and, above all, agriculture to meet demand. As a result, the hole was plugged by imports – which created the prerequisites for a financial crisis.
C) These prerequisites would have remained prerequisites if not for the deranged actions of Gorbachev's economists. At the same time, they were a logical consequence of total ideological control – these figures quoted Marx by heart, but no longer understood the most basic principles of the real work of the economy.
D) At the same time, the loyalty of the population was undermined by a total failure in the field of propaganda. Despite the fact that the western was not as cheap trash as it is now, but also far from brilliant. The reason is exactly the same – monopolism decomposes.
Relatively high military spending is the last straw that broke the camel's back.
And in the immediate postwar environment it was america and the west that continually pushed for that arms race for that reason.
Yes, the initiative was constantly with the "peaceful defending West". However, the key motive was not a bet on exhaustion – the Pentagon seriously counted on winning a nuclear war.
My issue with this is that it is frankly just too complex.
The only complicated thing here is the description of the effects. At the same time, the same 4 effects have two vanilla civics, with 3 more. State property and nature protection can be described in the same way.